Airbus A380's Puts Pressure on Miami

The airport still has more than a year to prepare for the giant jet. Three airlines -- Lufthansa, Air France and Virgin Atlantic -- have expressed interest in flying the A380 to MIA.

Outside the United States, the A380 is expected to operate under less strict standards, including the narrower runway. Some aviation industry insiders have speculated the FAA is protecting Airbus's bitter rival, Chicago-based Boeing.

Dick Marchi, senior advisor to the Airports Council North America, said Congress has repeatedly asked for studies on how much American airports are spending to accommodate the A380 -- requests he believes are in part politically motivated.

But he doesn't believe the FAA is unfairly targeting the plane.

"There has been talk about that, but I don't think it's true," Marchi said.

He pointed to Boeing's plans to counter the A380 with the planned 747-8, whose wingspan will be nearly as long as the A380's.

That could subject the plane to the same requirements at the A380.

Copyright (c) 2006, The Miami Herald.

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